6) The NHS

6.1 What is the Government Doing to Support the NHS?


  • Providing any extra resource the NHS needs to tackle the virus. We have created a new £5 billion Initial COVID-19 Response Fund so the NHS can treat coronavirus patients; councils can support vulnerable people; and ensure funding is available for other public services.


  • Providing £1.3 billion to help the NHS discharge patients who no longer need care more quickly, freeing up vital space. Of the £5 billion we are providing, £1.3 billion will be used to enhance the NHS discharge process. The will help to free up 15,000 hospital beds across England and ensure more staff have capacity to treat people needed urgent care, including those being cared for with coronavirus.


  • Working with British manufacturers to support the production of essential medical equipment for the NHS, such as ventilators. To date, there are more than 8,000 ventilators available to NHS patients–more than when the outbreak began –and there are another 8,000 expected from existing international manufacturers in the coming weeks. The first thousands of new ventilators will roll off the production line and be delivered to the NHS next week. As well as increasing capacity for ventilation, which supports the patients worse affected, we're also increasing the capacity to provide oxygen to affected patients at an earlier stage in the process of the disease, helping to avert the deterioration of their condition. A team led by UCL working with Mercedes Benz will produce 10,000 new CPAP devices to support affected patients.


  • We are ensuring the NHS has the support and the people it needs to fight the virus. We have called for extra NHS staff to help the fight against Covid-19, including retired doctors, nurses and final year students joining frontline services. So far, 20,000 retired NHS professionals have signed up to re-join the NHS in its fight against the coronavirus.5,500 final-year medics and 18,700 final-year student nurses will also move to the frontline to help our efforts.


  • We are Increasing our testing capacity to 25,000 hospital patients a day. The Prime Minister and Health Secretary promised industry leaders that they would be given whatever support they need to help government increase testing capabilities across the country. The increased capacity is expected to be ready within 4 weeks, with highest-priority cases being tested first.


  • We are Ensuring that frontline NHS staff get the tests they need to keep safe and treat patients. Working with universities, research institutes and businesses, we are rolling out staff testing across the NHS, with plans for a full roll-out for health, social care and other frontline workers. The new service will be free and help to end the uncertainty of whether NHS staff need to stay at home.